Tag Archives: Robin Artisson

For Hallowstide

For those of you who —  like our merry band — celebrate Hallowstide after October 31st, below is one way we’ve worked it with good results.  It’s actually from last year’s ritual done for the book club group, hence the ceremonial wordings.  As always, change it up to suit yourself, speaking from your own heart.

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Set up your altar with a skull, or representation of a skull.  We used a pottery skull with old skeleton keys crossed in front of it, as crossed bones, or “feet.”

Light candle beside skull,  saying

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From this fire, exorcised unto our need, spring forth now the Cunning Fire, which sits between the horns of our god.  Be Thou a lamp to light our ways, and a beacon to call forth our Beloved Dead this night.
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Knock three times, then say:

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By my Will I shape this throne
And call our Dead upon this Bone
Come ye in my Master’s Name
Until I send Thee back again

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Breathe life into skull, until you feel it stir and waken.

All stand in circle around altar.  Take up a red thread.  Each person ties knots into their thread, in the fashion of a snaim.  More about this another time, but for now — Don’t touch the thread with either forefinger at any point during the process.  Bring the thread to your forehead while concentrating on your intent, then down in front of you to tie the knots, then to your lips to whisper the name of one of your Beloved Dead, or to send a general call to the Ancestors.

Tread the Mill, stepping sideways and moving widdershins.  Pass thread deasil.  Whisper names of Beloved Dead, interspersed with “One by one and all together.”* Keep steps slow, but allow chant to increase in volume and/or speed.

When the Mill reaches its natural conclusion, one at a time, each person takes a thread up to the altar.  Offers a sign of love or respect (usually kissing the “feet”), then places bead end of thread into eye socket of skull, holding the other end.  Commune.

Remove thread, take up candle and pass around head 3x, to “take in” the cunning fire.  Rejoin circle.

When all have communed, perform a housle**:

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For our Ancestors, our Gods and ourselves, we do this.
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(((Knock 3 times)))
Here is bread, the life of the Earth,
Blessed to give us life and strength.
I consecrate it in the name of the Witch Father
With my left hand I bless it (mark it with goosefoot)
With my left hand I shall eat it.
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(((Knock 3 times)))
Here is wine, filling the cup with abundance
I consecrate it in the name of the Witch Mother
With my left hand I lift it,
With my left hand I shall drink it.
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Holding the cup in your left hand still, bring it near your lips, and say
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I drink this cup in the Witch Mother’s name:  She shall gather me home again.
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Then drink a little. Everyone who shares from the cup should say the same, holding the cup with their left hand, before they drink.
After everyone has shared from the cup, everyone should eat a piece of the bread- tear or cut it apart, making enough pieces for everyone. As you bring the piece of bread, held with your left hand, near your lips, you should say:
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I eat this bread in the Witch Father’s name, that I might have of his cunning fire

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Make an offering of bread and wine into a bowl.

Make subsequent toasts spontaneously from the heart.

Make the final round in silence.

Pass the bowl around for each to anoint their forehead with mixture in offering bowl.

While this happens, one of your number says:

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As some is taken, so is this given
By the sons and daughters of the family of the Old Faith
I give it to the Ground
I give it to the Pale People below
That above and below will become one
For what is taken is truly given
And what is given is truly taken
The day and night are wed
As the living and the dead.
Here is shown a mystery.
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Anoint skull.

Close the Skull, saying:

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In my Master’s Name, I bid you depart to your proper place, and be there love between us ever more.  So mote it be!

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Silently, each person takes up a candle from around the circle or on the altar.  One of your number takes up the offering bowl and starts a procession to a quiet place outside.  This could be a place where 3 trails meet, or any place you find good for leaving offerings.  In our case, our Magister is at the end of the procession, because the “Devil takes the hindmost.”

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Pour your offerings onto the ground, “To our Beloved Dead”

Leave your candles burning by offering.

Turn and walk away, without looking back.

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May you and the Ancestors be blessed!

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*Peter Paddon uses this phrase, and I like how it works.

**If memory serves, these words are a combination of Robin Artisson’s red meal and American Folkloric Witchcraft’s housle.

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Witch’s Milk

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Where I live, Spring has well and truly arrived.  As you can tell from the date of my last post, I had a long spell of focus inward this winter, centered around an older family member coming to live with us, sicken and pass on.  There was lots of magical work this Winter, but not a lot of writing.

So when Spring came ’round again, it was an especially welcome turning.  I’ve done all the spring things — taken a spring tonic, done a huge spate of spring cleaning, pulled all the gardens back into order, and ritually marked myself with Spring.

If you’re looking for a magical component to your spring, a few of us did something like this:

Prepare your space in the usual way.  As part of the set up, bless a cup of wine or other spirit (we used kahlua).  And place a pail of milk in the center of your workspace. We used fresh raw goat’s milk, but of course use whatever milk strikes you as right.

Set your witch’s knife on the floor, with the blade pointing towards the pail of milk.  Pace around the circle deasil, leaping over the knife as you come to it,* saying:

Milk flow
Strength grow
Power to the seed we sew
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Continue pacing and chanting until it feels done.  You’ll know.  End standing straddled over your knife, facing the pail.  Leaving your stance, add the blessed wine to the pail, stirring it in with your knife.  (Milk’s sticky, so you’ll probably want to have a moist napkin handy.)

Then, standing facing the pail, but on the right side of the knife, say:

I gird myself with the Powers of Spring!

Dip your fingers into the milk, and anoint yourself a la Cochran:

 
Left ear
Left eye
3rd eye
Right eye
Right ear
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Then, step over the knife as you would step up and over a stile, which might vary from person to person, but for me means facing my stile, resting my hand on the post (although we don’t have that luxury here!), stepping over with my left foot, stepping over with my right foot, perching right foot behind left foot, and gently spinning to face the pail.

Finish anointing, touching your:

Mouth
Right breast
Left ankle

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So girded, sit a moment and fortify yourself with a little witch’s milk.  Because here’s the thing:  with Spring comes a fresh stream of resources.  If you’re going to start something ambitious, you’ve got a limited window before you have to draw back and plan for Winter.  So use it well, and Good Fortune to your efforts!

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Inspired by Robin Artisson’s The Dance of the Witches: Opening the Devil’s Eye.

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Hot fresh witchcraft, with a prize inside

Drawn to a close — six Sundays of discussing Mastering Witchcraft and drinking tea with a group of fascinating witches.  Well, to be honest, most of us were drinking red wine, but we were sipping it from tea cups.  And some of the fascination came straight from Chapter 4 of the book.

I loved it.  So much so, that I’m bringing the fun to you.

Shortly, you’ll be able to read what well-known witches have to say on the concepts in Mastering Witchcraft.  I call them Celebrity Witches — high profile witches, who write, teach, speak and further the Craft in real and meaningful ways.  And that’s the tip of the iceburg, because to do those things well, they also have to be diligent practitioners of their arte “off screen.”

These Celebrity Witches will be working from the same set of discussion points used in the book club meetings.*  Please chime in with your own thoughts and experiences.  In many cases the celebrities are following along, so ask questions, as well.  The answers may surprise you!

And to sweeten the honey jar further, there’s a prize.  (Rules apply, see below for details.) Every time you comment,** I’ll put your name in the hat.  If you plug the online discussion on your site, I’ll put your name in three times.†  At the end of the online discussion,†† I’ll draw a winner.  The lucky witch will receive a copy of Mastering Witchcraft, which Mr. Huson has autographed with the inscription “you need but ask, the way is open to you.”

So stay tuned, to hear what Sarah Lawless of The Witch of Forest Grove, Jason Miller of Strategic Sorcery, Harold Roth of The Alchemist’s Garden, Hyperion of the UnNamed Path, Deborah Lipp, of Property of a Lady, Peter Paddon of the Crooked Path, Robin Artisson of Tracks in the Witchwood, and Mrs. Drinkwalter of North of Berkeley have to say about the concepts in Mastering Witchcraft.

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*Each Celebrity Witch retains all copyrights to their writings contained herein, with the sole exception that they have each agreed that I can post them on UsedKey.
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**And that means a *real* comment, not one of those sissified “me too” type responses. 
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†If you post on your site, email me at trothwy at live dot com, so I know to put your name in the hat.
 

††I’ll post an end date for comments to be eligible for the drawing, as discussions wind down.

 ¶Let the Discussion commence!

 

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A passel of cards

I’ve been trying to adapt of a segment of Robin Artisson’s Opening the Devil’s Eye, replacing the witch tools he sets around the compass to travel over with playing cards.  Fine in theory, but in practical application the cards blew around when I leapt over them.

Now, thanks to my beloved husband, I have a set of card tiles which should do the trick nicely:

I can’t wait to give them a try!
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Variations on a dilemma

It’s Thanksgiving Day.  You and 15 people you only see once a year are sitting around an enormous turkey dinner, complete with pecan pie and relish tray.  Everyone’s getting along splendidly … so far.

Then, Aunt Albie, stalwart matron of the Calvary Baptist Church that she is, turns and asks you to say grace. 

You’re doomed.

Actually, maybe not.  There are a few food blessings out there that may allow you to navigate between the twin pillars of Denying What You Believe and Getting Your Ass Whupped by Aunt Albie.  Let’s check some out:

For total opacity, you could trot out that segment from the Metrical Charm for an Unfruitful Land which I mentioned the other day.  The indeterminate Saxon will sound impressive.  Your book smarts will be the talk of the entire family.  And all without a single hare -pin dropped.

Or, in the time-honored tradition of parents everywhere, you could throw your offspring under the bus.  Have your youngest recite this very sweet meal blessing  which I adapted from one used in Waldorf schools:

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Blessed be Mother Earth.
Blessed be Father Sun.
Blessed be the plants in the field,
Where the Mother and Father are one.¹

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And you could always use a blessing that, however pagan seeming, can pass for Christian:

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Power of God on this flesh!
And power on those who will eat it,
to be worthy of the life taken here
   to nourish them,
for the fire of all life is from God.
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It is finished.²

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Then there’s the ultimate option.  The fantasy we all have.   Come on … you know the one.  Give in to Your Own Dark Self.  Lift up your wine glass with your left hand, and bring on the houzle:

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Here is wine, filling the cup with abundance.
I consecrate it in the name of the Witchmother, Old Fate.
With my left hand I lift it,
With my left hand I shall drink it.”³

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Then drink in the Name of the Ould Lass, that She shall gather you home again.  

And run like hell.  Because the fight’s on now.

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¹The original may be found in A Child’s Book of Blessings  compiled by Sabrina Dearborn.  And yes.  I totally threw my son under the bus.  On more than one occasion.

²From The Book of Kells, by R.A. MacAvoy, Chapter 6.

³From Scaresprite, by the inestimable, controversial Robin Artisson.

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